It all started with the Snowflakes.
I've been wanting to make a line of smaller affordable-yet-fantastic glass panels that everybody needs to have. They needed to be different- and still look great in almost any decor.
I figured out how to frame and hang the Snowflakes in a way that came across as delicate, kept the focus on the glass and allowed for a bunch of them to be hung together. Which means that after six years of making new Snowflake panels you could realistically grow your own window a panel a year and now you don't have to look at your neighbor's backyard anymore.
Because windows are awesome. Blinds are not.
But, Snowflakes hanging in July might make the neighbors wonder (not judging those that have their Snowflakes hanging in July- they really are too pretty to put away), I set about to create a panel that would be a suitable substitute.
Different, pretty, wantable, repeatable, collectible, shippable, easy to hang.
Well, alrighty then.
Hand painting takes too long and is pretty unforgivable. I thought that airbrushing glass paint might be a way to speed things up but, no. (but now I kinda know how to airbrush glass paint). I've been collecting all the materials to be able to screen print on glass and armed with the knowledge from watching an old "Screen Printing on Glass 101" (and 202) DVD I picked up 7 years ago, I got rolling.
I've decided to draw directly on the transparency with this neat little pen and black India ink. I know that you can draw this out on paper and just copy it to a transparency with a printer but where is the Danger in that?
Where is the slip of the pen? The drops of ink? The things that make making art so very terrifying/fun? The "oops" in the final stroke? The "Damn!", the "Holy #$&% balls, what have I done?" moment?!! The, "is that a hair in that perfect line of ink? How do I get that out? Brushes are made of hair! You just ruined it again, soon-to-be-bald Johnny!"
Computers don't give you that.
Here, I'm inking in the areas where I will want the white paint to go. There are 3 colors, black (the outline), white (the petals) and green (the centers and leaves). Each color gets its own India inked transparency. (3 designs, 3 transparencies each= Johnny Danger Gordon)
"Mix paint with water base paint medium to the consistency of honey."
It's just like asking Grandma for her meatloaf recipe. "Oh, it's just a little of this and a bit of that..." There are never any exact measurements.
If you're going to do traditional painting on glass, you make a pile of pigment powder and sprinkle it with powdered gum arabic (the gum arabic will make the paint stick to the glass after you mix all of it with water. Too much? Too little? All affects how the paint can be manipulated).
So, naturally- after 2000 years of people painting on glass- the amount of gum arabic to be added to the powdered paint pile
"...should look like snow on the mountains in summer."
Poetic, yes. Not that bloody helpful, though.
Not having any honey at the studio, I have recently figured out that the consistency of honey is somewhere in between the last two runs I have just made.
I recently watched The Chefs Table on The Netflix and they were interviewing a 3 Michelin Star French chef, Alain Passard. He kept talking about how so much of preparing food well is linked to "The Gesture". How you handle the knife, make the cut, handle the ingredients- the actual movement of what you do.
As artists/craftspeople I feel like we can understand this pretty well. Whether it's cutting glass or painting on it, the "gesture" shows a level of comfort and skill with the material.
The Master makes it look easy and graceful. The novice- notsomuch.
Also, it takes a bit of time to get good at stuff. This took a bunch of redoing.
It's important to me to use the traditional paints and stains. Each color is fired in the kiln- 1280 f for the Black layer and 1050°f for the white and green enamel layers.
The best thing about glass- more than any other medium I can think of- is that it just wants to look good. You really have to go out of your way to ruin that.
I decided that I would print each color on a separate piece of glass and layer them. The wood frames that I cut (all fingers intact), drilled (still intact), sanded (sweat upon), stained (right hand now Moorish Teak!) , poly'ed (two coats because I care), and waxed ('cuz that's what makes 'em pretty) holds them all together with a little gap in between each piece of glass.
The three pieces of glass give the panel some weight and substance- and those exposed edges give a little sparkle (always important).
The flowers never quite line up and move a bit when you walk around. That's kinda cool.
Three different designs (with more on the way) to begin your very own stained glass window!
Check out the Shop tab and pick your favorite.
I'd love to help you make sure everything hangs the way you want it to. Contact me if you have any questions and I'd be more than happy to help you start growing your window!